Technology moves so fast nowadays that it seems like there’s a new smartphone out every week. But with each new model offering fewer exciting features, there’s less motivation to upgrade your phone constantly. 

Unfortunately, most big manufacturers stop offering software updates for their devices after some time. If you notice that your phone’s operating system or last security patch level was from a few years ago, then your manufacturer may consider your phone to be obsolete. 

Why Are Updates So Important?

Not only do updates offer UI and performance enhancements, but they also patch security holes. Hackers constantly look for ways to exploit weaknesses in your phone’s operating system. When a threat actor finds a flaw, your manufacturer quickly patches it to keep your data safe.

Is It Safe to Use an Older Android Device?

Ideally, your phone should have the latest security updates. However, you don’t have to run out and buy a new phone. Here are some steps you can take to secure an older Android device:

1. Download Good Cybersecurity Software 

A malware infection on your Android device can breach your security and privacy. It can also slow down your phone. Some malware, like ransomware, can lock your device until you pay a hacker a fee through Bitcoin or any other untraceable digital currency. 

It would help if you had some Android malware protection by downloading cybersecurity software that shields your device from viruses, ransomware, and other emerging threats. The best cybersecurity software could also secure your browsing experience by scanning for fraudulent URLs and auditing your apps for extra safety. 

2. Manage Your Apps

You might be surprised to learn that many apps are security threats, even those on Google’s official platform. In fact, one study identifies Google Play Store as the primary distribution vector for most Android malware. 

Start by deleting all unnecessary apps from your device. Next, manage the permissions on the apps you use. Only allow apps the permission they need. For example, while your videoconferencing software may need access to your contact list, your child’s painting app would certainly not.

Remove apps that demand permissions needlessly. Instead, install well-reviewed alternatives that don’t invade your privacy. 

3. Turn off Autofill

Go to the privacy tab in your settings and deactivate the Autofill service from Google. Autofill saves your passwords, credit cards, addresses, and search history. A cybercriminal with access to your phone can use this data to commit identity theft or various financial crimes. 

Please also monitor your bank accounts and credit reports regularly to stay one step ahead of people with malicious intent. 

4. Secure Your Communications

It’s a good idea to use an encrypted messaging app on your older Android device to stop anyone from snooping on you. Signal and Telegram are two of the most secure messaging apps available for your smartphone. WhatsApp was a favourite for its end-to-end encryption. However, experts consider it less reliable after Facebook bought it. 

Without the latest security patches, your Android device isn’t as protected as it should be. However, by using good cybersecurity software and the best precautions, you can reduce the risk of using an older device. 

Photo by MOHI SYED from Pexels

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